Veteran Nollywood actor, Joseph Benjamin, has recounted how he dived into the taxi business after he became stranded in the United States of America.
Benjamin said he relocated from Nigeria to the U.S. after someone promised him movie gigs in America, but the person later disappointed him.
The 46-year-old thespian disclosed this while appearing on the latest episode of the King of Talks podcast, hosted by comedian Teju Babyface.
Benjamin said, “I got to America on a promise that I had some gigs waiting for me. So I thought I was going to have a soft landing there. I packed up everything from Nigeria, bought a one-way ticket, and came to America.
“I was put in a well-furnished house and all of that. Then two days later, the person who I was supposed to book a deal with said to me, ‘Those our financiers have pulled out. They have an issue.’ So, I said, what do I do? He was like, ‘From next month on, you will have to start paying rent in this house.’ The amount of the one-month rent was equivalent to a one-year rent in Nigeria.
“I’m like, ‘I’m not earning any money so what do I do?’ I don’t know what to do. So, shot into that life, I had to figure out what to do. I had nowhere to go. Nothing to turn to. My phone was buzzing, like, ‘When are you coming back to Nigeria? We have this gig for you.’ Teju, $1,500 was all I came to America with. How do I buy a ticket to go back to Nigeria?
“My life pattern then was so disorganised in the sense that I didn’t have a proper saving culture. With all the money I was making in Nigeria, my life was a m*ss. I sold my cars and gave out like 90 per cent of all my belongings in Nigeria. I was like, I’m going to America to live a good life and all of that stuff. How do I buy a ticket to go back to Nigeria? Lord, what do I do? And God said to me that ‘Welcome to the life that I arranged for you. I needed to break you away from your comfort zone so that I can build you.’
“I was like, ‘No, no, no …’ He was like, ‘Yes, welcome to it. So, here you are, now way to earn a living. How do you move forward?’ Then, sometimes I will be in my room crying. I’m like, ‘Lord where do I go from here?’ And for some reason every month I get to pay the rent. I got connected to my church. And then someone gave me a car. I’m like, what do I do with the car? And they said Uber. I was driving for Uber and Lyft to pay my bills.”